Tuesday, March 8, 2016

When Worlds Collide

Image taken from here.
Perception is reality, and the way we communicate with each other dictates how we are perceived. As such, as communication changes, the way people see us may also change. In eras past, all your employer saw was your work ethic and quality, so that was how you were identified. The only people who knew you based off of your personal life was your family and friends-- work life and personal
life were two clearly distinct categories. It didn't much matter what decisions one made in their personal life, because those who they had business relationships with likely wouldn't see it. However, with the rise of social media and perpetual, prolific updates, these two worlds are edging closer and closer together.

Every Second
This is how we communicate. Where interactions centuries ago occurred face to face with people we knew, we can now, with minimal effort, interact with thousands of people at the touch of a button. When the main source of information we have regarding individuals is their social media profiles, of which there is a plethora, we tend to categorize and label people. 

Today, our digital footprint says more about who we are than our interactions with others do. Why? Because we as a society are relying more and more on technology--we are finding our reality amid the 0's and 1's of the virtual world.

I currently work as an editor/ proofreader for a church-run youth summer program, and in my line of work I frequently see applications and resumes and the like. While I myself am not responsible for hiring decisions, some of my coworkers help in that process by reviewing the social media profiles of the applicants. It's been an interesting experience to see the types of things that will get candidates removed from the hiring pool. We have to define the character of the applicants based on their digital footprint. It sounds unfair--but is it?

In today's world, how do you get your initial impression of someone? If you're anything like me, you stalk (I mean...take a look at) their social media accounts. There you'll find all sorts of pertinent information: what they look like, their sense of humor, the most important relationships they have (there's a reason that some girlfriends get upset if they aren't featured every #womancrushwednesday), their stance on politics, what kind of music they listen to, their religious beliefs, their moral code...the list goes on and on. If I can get access to that much information, anyone can-- and if that information is so readily available to the general public, then don't employers have a responsibility to make sure that the person they are hiring correlates with the public image their company tries to portray?

"It becomes really hard to change our opinions. Because of the speed and brevity of social media, we are forced to jump to conclusions and write sharp opinions in 140 characters about complex world affairs. And once we do that, it lives forever on the internet, and we are less motivated to change these views, even when new evidence arises."-Wael Ghonim


  1. I loved that Ted talk by Wael Ghonim, especially when he said that the same tool that brought about change, is the same tool that destroyed them. It makes me think of karate kid (newer version) and when their talking about "oo-gi-be-fan" <-- this is my best attempt at Chinese... it basically means that too much good stuff can be bad stuff. Which is exactly what is happening with our digital consumption.

  2. I read your previous post and really liked how you revised it to frame the context for your personal example that you share later in this post. It works really well to help me understand where you are going with your post.

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  4. Great post! I loved the presentation! I was really impressed by how well all of the graphics lined up with all of the text. I'm interested to see where you go with this from here.

  5. As discussed in class on Monday, I don't quite share the same opinion as you on this subject.

    My sister was on the wrong side of this subject. In the summer of 2012, she got a job as an EFY nurse while she was finishing up her nursing degree. While there, she met a man who was the head counselor and had been working there for two or three years already. He was established there as a return-counselor and everybody loved him. They started talking and hanging out, and eventually dating. He seemed perfect to her. They developed a relationship, and eventually got married. During the honeymoon, he became a monster. She endured three months of abuse--sexual, mental, physical, psychological, and spiritual. He tried to ruin her life. He stole all of her money and lost it on immoral practices and services.

    After a lengthy divorce that basically ruined her life, she started a slow recovery process. He didn't flinch. He cleaned up his Facebook so that she never existed. He reapplied to be a counselor. He lied through the interview process. He got his old job back, and tried dating two more female counselors that next summer. We caught it because my cousin's counselor was one of them. My father called Church headquarters and got him fired. But speaking to the next two victims, neither of them had any idea whatsoever.

    Predators are very good at hiding themselves through social media. And they're disgusting men and women! And social media is the perfect platform to hide their real identities and prey on other people.